Zoe Serlin, Foundation Arts student
"I've absolutely loved it, I've really enjoyed the course, it's challenging but not too challenging. It's a really great introductory year with six modules all surrounding different subjects within the Faculty of Arts. It teaches you how to become a student, and is a really good foundation to university life. I’m really glad I decided to take this amazing opportunity."
Coping with the transition to uni life
"I'd say university life is quite different to being at school, you're a lot more independent and are living on your own as opposed to being with family. The workload is different too, it’s more challenging than A Levels as you need to manage your own workload to keep up whereas at school, you’re obviously told exactly what to do and when it needs to be in by."
About Foundation Arts
We’re taught skills which we might need next year — like referencing and how to write a university standard essay, all things we wouldn’t be taught if going straight into a degree course.
When I enter the first year next year I think I’m going to feel pretty confident as I’ll have learnt all the key study skills plus more.
For example we’ve been introduced to different study methods and I’ve found the Pomodoro method really helpful. Which is working for 25 minutes then taking a five minute break. I have an app on my phone to manage the timings and it’s really motivating, I don’t want to stop studying before the time is up, if I use my phone then the timer resets!"
"In foundation, we study six modules, these are Important Thinkers Through History, Media Communication and Society, Critical thinking and Reflective Learning, The Project, Language and Culture, and Narrative and Creativity. As you can imagine, these modules are all so different but you are able to write most of your assessments focusing on your destination department, so it definitely makes it really interesting. For example, I had to write an article review for Language and Culture and I chose to write mine on an article about the female representation in the James Bond films.
This semester in Important Thinkers Through History we’ve been looking at influential people through history. We cover a new person every two weeks and each person we study relates to a course within the Faculty of Arts. For example, we’ve studied Martin Luther King who relates to history, Confucius who is a philosopher and we’re going to be looking at Steven Spielberg later this term who is a film director. I am really enjoying this module because I am being introduced to some really interesting people by looking at things they created as well as about their stories. In seminars we discuss why we think they are important thinkers. The assessment for this module is also something I am looking forward to, we are doing a group project with people who are doing the same course with me next year, we are creating an academic poster together.
Throughout this year, we’ve been working on a 4000 word dissertation which is due in the spring. I am finding this the most challenging part of foundation year but it is a lot less daunting than I originally anticipated. I actually think it is really useful because it prepares us to write our third year dissertation. So when that comes around I think I will be a lot less stressed knowing I have already written a research piece in foundation year.
We also have a module called Critical Thinking and Reflective Learning which basically teaches you how to study like a university student. We learn how to construct an argument and present it in an essay.
My favourite module this year has been Language and Culture.
I really enjoyed this module because I found it interesting learning about the language we speak and how this relates to culture.
We also learn how to become media literate in Media, Communication and Society. This is obviously very important because most of the studying we do at university is online at the moment so we need to be able to tell the difference between a credible source and fake news. This semester in MCS, we are also having workshops on different types of media and how to use them. This is super useful as we are being taught how to edit a video or how to record high quality audio.
In May I have an assessment in the Narrative and Creativity module where we have to create a narrative creative piece which could be anything, for example a short story or play. I think that I’d like to create a short film. I’m hoping to be able to use the Digital Transformation Hub to borrow cameras and edit in Premier Pro."
The other students
"The other students on my course are lovely, I've made a really great group of friends. They aren’t all straight out of school either, some have taken gap years and a few are quite a bit older which is really lovely as it is interesting to talk to people who are at all different points in their lives coming to study."
"We've got three amazing lecturers on the foundation course Pete, Doug and Sasha. They deliver our lectures, hold our seminars and are our personal tutors. I think it's nice because we get to know them really well. They're very approachable and I know that most of us message them all the time. They’re so quick at answering all our random questions. I know a lot of my friends on different courses have many different lecturers so it’s really nice that we get to know ours so well as we see/speak to them almost every day."
"I’ve taken on a few roles of responsibility since starting university: as a subject ambassador, I’m on the Halls Council, I’m a course rep and also a student vlogger. Basically whenever I was offered an opportunity to do something extra, I have said yes. I enjoy doing stuff to help people and it’s nice to get a little bit of extra money!
It’s definitely made my university experience better, I’ve got to meet some new people that aren’t in my halls or friendship group and it’s been great to see changes made as a result of our suggestions. It’s nice to see that I’m making a difference."
"Don't say no to anything! If people ask you to do something in your first week, say yes. I was given that advice and I’m glad I took it, it’s due to some of the weird stuff I did in my first week that I met the people who have become my closest friends."